At its meeting on 14 July, the HMPA committee reiterated its opposition to the Corporation of London’s new charging regime and unanimously agreed to form a campaign subcommittee to lead the fightback on the issue of compulsory charges. Our view is that the long-term future of our beloved pond, as with the other swimming ponds, is now under grave threat.
HMPA believes the new charging regime is discriminatory, unjust, and will socially cleanse the pond, destroying its unique atmosphere and bringing to an end almost two centuries of freely-accessible bathing on the Heath. The refusal to engage seriously with improvements to the existing voluntary payment system, which we know many of our members support, only exacerbates this.
It is now clear that the 'consultation' run by the Corporation of London earlier this year was a sham. Outgoing HMPA Chair Chris Piesold has written a detailed and damning account of this process, available to read here.
Together with the other swimmers groups, such as the Kenwood Ladies Pond Association and the Mixed Pond Association, as well as a new campaign group called Forum ’71 that has been set up directly in response to these developments, we are working on how best to resist the new regime and overturn the introduction of comulsory charging.
As a volunteer-led membership organisation, we need YOU to help us to do this.
If you can contribute time, energy, or expertise to any part of our campaign, please get in touch (via the contact form on the bottom of our home page). We are particularly keen to hear from people with experience in communications, social media, the law, and campaigning/ lobbying. But even if you have none of these, please come aboard anyway. The more the merrier – this is how we will win.
Sign the Forum ’71 petition opposing compulsory charges https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-ponds-hampstead-heath-1
Share this information with your friends, colleagues, relatives, whoever else... The campaign against charges is starting to gather real momentum – already the petition has close to 4000 signatures and we have widespread support from swimmers across all three ponds. Help us spread the word!